Lauren Lee McCarthy and Kyle McDonald

pplkpr is an app that tracks, analyzes, and auto-manages your relationships. Using a smartwatch, pplkpr monitors your physical and emotional response to the people around you, and uses machine learning to optimize your social life accordingly. pplkpr is an intervention that examines the implications of quantified living for relationships. It poses as a startup in order to critique the techno-solutionism of startup culture.

Who owns the data created between two people, what if it is captured and used? What if artificial intelligence could understand our relationships and make better interpersonal decisions than we can ourselves?

pplkpr started with over a year of research and experimentation, and eventually took the form of an iOS app ready for short term daily-life performances. The first performance of pplkpr was conducted with a group of students at Carnegie Mellon University. For one week, their stress levels were carefully monitored while their social lives were manipulated accordingly. During this performance, the students used a modified version of pplkpr that was able to control their social media.

The second performance and installation took place at NODE Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. The data of all festival attendees was aggregated, and a leaderboard displayed the people that made everyone feel "Most Aroused", "Most Angry", "Most Calm", etc.

The third performance took place at Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, and incorporated a workshop and guidebook we designed to accompany the pplkpr experiment.

Project site

pplkpr in the app store